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Mental Illness
(Personal Reactions, We're Human!)

Depiction Suggestions:

The following are a few suggestions for accurate character portrayals which will help lend authenticity and drama to your storylines:

     Consider including the subjective, personal experience of someone dealing with mental illness, rather than simply relaying symptoms and signs of this condition.  Including this perspective can further humanize the character dealing with these issues and serve to reduce misunderstanding which fosters discrimination around mental illness.  The subjective point of view allows a person to tell their true story and experience, reinforcing their humanity.

     It is important to understand that violence and suicide are not symptoms of mental illness.  Unfortunately, this is how some people react to their experience of having a mental illness.  Most people who take their life by suicide do so as a result of overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and isolation.  Most often, these feelings do not lead to suicide.

     Here’s a list of positive reactions to mental illness that are useful when creating moving and inspiring characters and storylines:

  1. Talk to other people instead of isolating oneself.
  2. Actively building security in one’s life - money to survive on, safe housing, and connections with family, friends, and spirituality.
  3. Actually experiencing feelings and emotions instead of deadening them, medicating them, avoiding them, or getting high.
  4. Learn some emotional coping skills.
  5. Learn to “use” medications instead of just “taking” medications.
  6. Take responsibility for one’s own life and making some changes in oneself.
  7. Go to work even when one is not feeling well.
  8. Do things outside of being a mental patient and outside the mental health system.
  9. Improve one’s physical health and wellness.
  10. Loving other people - family, partners and kids.
  11. Work on acceptance and forgiveness instead of blaming and vengeance.
  12. Give back by helping others.
  13. Find meaning and blessings in suffering and reconnecting with spirituality.
  14. Feature other people’s positive reactions to someone’s mental illness and their behaviors.



For more mental health resources visit our TEAM Up website!

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Acting Surgeon General Addresses Mental Health on EICtv

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Watch a preview of the Acting Surgeon General Dr. Lushniak answer questions on suicide prevention, the importance of exercise in maintaining mental and physical wellness, pressing dermatological issues, the dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer and the role of media to spread valuable health information to vast audiences. 

Tune in on December 18th for your dose Health and Wellness from your nations doctor!


Thought Box

Consider exploring the challenges that those with mental illness may face in securing housing and a job, due to fear of discrimination if they disclose their illness. 

For more information, contact EIC's First Draft
 at 818-861-7782

 Understanding the Causes

The causes behind a mental health challenge or diagnosed mental illness vary, but the different types can be most easily understood using a computer analogy:

• Physical causes (“hardware errors”) – The brain has physical damage, such as with developmental disorders, drug and alcohol brain damage, traumatic brain injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome, dementias, and neurological and medical conditions that impact the brain.

• Neurochemical disorders (“software errors”) – Areas of the brain are not communicating correctly, such as in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, “endogenous” major depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

• Environmental causes (“user errors”) – Occur when individuals have been mistreated or mistreated themselves and are disturbed as a result, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders and other broader effects of trauma.

Most often, a mental health challenge or diagnosed mental illness results from a combination of two or three of the causes listed above.

For more information on mental health view our depiction suggestions guide.

A message from EIC President, CEO, & Co-Founder Brian Dyak 

Brian NEW HeadshotSuicide and mental illness are difficult for most people to discuss, so our natural tendency is to dehumanize those who are living with such illnesses. But how people react to their own diagnosis can have a profound effect on their outcomes.  The reaction of those close to a person dealing with these challenges can also have a dramatic effect. This dynamic can be portrayed in television, film, and news coverage in ways that are authentic and accurate and that can lead to greater understanding and acceptance.  

Life is what we make it and how we handle adversity and significant events that may affect our psyche and our spirit. Suicide prevention must involve those who also live with the guilt and often shame that they did not recognize the signs, or were too busy to intervene. There are complicated stories waiting to be told that accentuate the struggles and resolve of those living through the loss of a loved one who dies by suicide. Consider telling the whole story to make it OK2TALK, and recognize that EACH MIND MATTERS 
eachmindmatters.orgI encourage you to visit the many resources linked throughout this newsletter that can guide you in your storytelling.

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EIC's FREE Technical Assistance Resource 
to the Creative Community!

To set up your own FREE First Draft Consultation with one of our experts contact Larry Deutchman: 
or 818-861-7782

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